Children and pets were a popular theme in Victorian times for household pictures and other decorative accessories, including schoolgirl samplers. In this charming woolwork rendition, our young child has her hand on her pet dog, while her other is holding a basket. Behind them is her stone house, with its ivy covered walls and garden fence.
The stitching on this piece is exceptionally well done in small counted cross stitches out of soft wool yarn. The child’s face and hands were done in pettipoint more a more detailed appearance. Silk floss was used in her collar, her pinafore, the edges of her blue dress, and to highlight the dog’s eyes. In the background is a lake with trees before it.
The whole work is housed in a Victorian faux rosewood frame with a gesso and wood gilded slip. It has a deep color and beautiful soft glowing patina. The frame is not original but is of the same period as the woolwork embroidery; that is, about circa 1860.
One of the more remarkable characteristics of this woolwork picture is its excellent color retention. The blues, reds, browns, grays and gold all have held their intensity quite well. In fact, the picture appears to have been out of the sunlight entirely as there is little fading. However, there is some wool yarn losses in the right- and left-hand corners. I believe that the stitcher either ran out of wool yarn, or just tired of the piece and forgot to fill in these little bits.
The frame is in excellent condition. There is a slight loss to one corner of the gilded slip.
It measures 22-1/2 inches wide and 24-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
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